Information Therapy and PHR

Posted on March 25, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently came across an interesting term that I’d never heard of: Information Therapy. Here’s the wikipedia description of Information Therapy:

Information therapy works by engaging the consumer in the process of care. Unlike health information which a patient or family member may find on an open website like webmd or yahoo, information therapy is providing plain language evidence based medical information to a patient at the exact time that a patient needs it to help them in their heatlh care process. An example would be when a person who leaves a doctor’s office is provided an after-visit summary of instructions on how they can take care of their ailment at home. Information therapy may be prescribed by a clinician, (i.e. nurse, doctor or other health professional), by a electronic system in a medical institution (i.e.an electronic medical record), or consumer-prescribed.

Interesting term. Learn something new every day. I must admit that I’m pretty horrible with terms. Abbreviations are even worse. Sometimes people contact me with a bunch of abbreviations and I’m just totally lost. So, I either Google them or look past them. Either way, I’m so practical that I don’t care about abbreviations much.

The one that’s always killed me is CPOE. I never remember what that even means. I prefer to call it doctors entering orders. Maybe the abbreviation DEO was already in use somewhere else.

Well, I’ll embrace the term Information Therapy at least for this post. Information therapy is interesting and a PHR really takes it to the next level. However, I think it gets even more interesting when a PHR goes beyond information therapy and actually helps a patient make decisions on their own without seeing the doctor. Yes, I know there are so many legal issues around this, but we’re all far too familiar of the times where you go to the doctor and they basically do nothing but send you home with a script.

I won’t get into all the issues related to this, but I think that the term Information Therapy should be expanded to include a PHR or other website that helps patient save a visit to the doctor or even possibly provides an online doctor’s visit.

Otherwise, I’ll just have to change the definition of Information Therapy to what you experience when reading this blog. Wait, maybe that’s called EMR therapy.